Sunday, April 15, 2007

Article: So you think you want to be a teacher

Not many of you should become teachers, my brother, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness (Jas. 3:1)

Check out this excellent post on Jas. 3:1 from Dan Phillips of the Pyromaniacs, on the gravity of teaching God's Word. Here are some of the choice sections:

... James very somberly warns [anyone], "You think you want to be a teacher? Oh boy, you'd better sit back down and give that one a second thought. You take that mantle on yourself, brother, and you are begging for stricter judgment."


So words are the stock-in-trade of the pastor. When he is at his best, he uses them to communicate God's truth. God holds him accountable for what he says. When he says, "I am a pastor," in that same breath he is saying, "and I invite stricter judgment on myself for what I say."

So a pastor who speaks to a church should expect to answer to that church for what he says. If he goes on the radio, he should expect to answer to that audience for what he says. If he blogs, if he writes in the local newspaper, if he speaks at rallies — and, certainly, if he writes books, he should expect to answer for what he says. He should expect to be held to the standard of God's Word. No responsible pastor blinks in surprise when someone asks for clarification. He expects it. He invited it the day he presented himself before God and the Church as a pastor. To be a pastor means to be a teacher of the Word of God, and it means to be judged in his pursuit of that activity.


[In the case of a pastor questioning another:]

Rather than throw brickbats (or frozen meat-chubs) at the reasonable questioner, thank him for taking Acts 20:28 seriously. And rather than shielding (or beating your breast for) the questionee, encourage him to respond honestly and straightforwardly, and thank him for taking James 3:1 seriously.

And if I may add, this doesn't apply to pastors ONLY. All of us who, in some way or another, witness for Christ or teach others, will have to answer to God and to others for our own words. After all, the verses Mt. 12:36-37 aren't in the Scriptures for no reason. They read

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Forget about the annonymity of the Internet, all of us who blog will be held accountable to God for every word we type. For every person we counsel in the name of Christ, every Christian we disciple, God will hold us accountable for what we say (and don't say). Especially if you are in a teaching position, and God doesn't care whether it is ecclesiastical or not; a parachurch worker is just as accountable to God as a pastor in a church for what he teaches (or doesn't teaches).

So anyone still wants to be a teacher?

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